When baseball becomes a defining moment in family history.

Hello everyone. Our apologies for disappearing for a while; we have been involved in a few extremely time-consuming endeavors and once we finish a jury duty assignment next week, then we're hoping to get back to normal around the Corners.

We're also in the midst of major school projects, including a family history assignment from Lucy's fourth-grade class. We have a longstanding interest in baseball on both sides of our family; see for instance the story from Lucy's late grandpa which you can click at right, below 'Gem Mint Peeps.' Since baseball fervor is a steady element in the clans, it's no wonder Lucy has picked up on it.

Here is a recollection from her Great Aunt Jean, who is 84 years old, that we enjoyed very much, and hope you do as well. Besides being a great look back, it offers an account of why our Aunt Jean is a Yankees fan--an explanation we hadn't known before:

When I was in sixth grade I lived in Long Island [back when there weren’t many stores and it wasn’t densely populated as it is now]. My mother gave my older sister Mary money to get me shoes in Jamaica, Queens. But instead of doing that, she said to me, “Okay, we're not gettng shoes. We're going to the Polo Grounds and you can see your first major league baseball game.” When I heard that, I was in seventh heaven.
[The Polo Grounds stadium was located at 155th Street in Manhattan.]
I was elated! I loved the right fielder Mel Ott, who in his career hit 511 home runs.
And during the game, he hit a home run! It was such a beautiful day. I learned how to cheer with everyone else, and that instead of sitting alone in your house listening to the game on the radio, being with the crowd was exhilarating. I was on a cloud the whole way home. And that was when I knew I had to live in Manhattan.

Eventually I graduated Northport High School and went to live with my older sister Helen and brother-in-law John. They lived on Adrian Avenue in Upper Manhattan, around 225th Street.

Then I became a truly avid New York Giants fan. And I was working in Manhattan! I remember that at a game I met the office manager of the Giants and he liked how much of a fan I was. He invited me on the Sam Arrow Radio Show for fifteen minutes to talk about the team as a representative female fan. I was shaking like a leaf the whole time. But he asked who my favorites were and besides Mel Ott I said Alvin Dark, who was a very consistent player.

Later, he took me to Toots Shor and we met some players and the singer Dean Martin. As the years progressed, the Giants left New York City for California. For a while, they would put the games on TV but there was a three-hour time difference and soon they stopped doing that. I needed a New York team to root for.

I could not root for the Mets because to me, they were the ex-Dodgers. I just couldn’t root for them, so I rooted for the Yankees...and I’ve been a Yankees fan ever since.

Alas, Aunt Jean's reasoning for becoming a Yankees fan seems completely understandable. Learning this was an enlightening moment for us. Also, her personal New York geography includes such a vivid memory of the Polo Grounds, which was in shouting distance of Yankee Stadium.

And so on both sides of Lucy's family, there are sweeping green swaths of outfield that help everything make sense.

Many thanks to Aunt Jean. Also, please stay tuned to Dinged Corners for an upcoming feature on wonderful cards sent to us from blogger friends, including dayf and AdamE.


PunkRockPaint said...

That was great! Thanks!

night owl said...

Nice story, even though it involves rooting for Yankees and Giants (ick).

I love stories about avid fans. It's great that you have such a family history in that area.

Glad your back (in a brief sort of way)!

The Wax Wombat said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it. :)

mikepelfreyshouse said...

Nice story, glad to hear from you again! My family are historically giants fans, and when they moved, we acame mets fans because my grandpa could not pull himself to root for the yankees. He was also extremyl happy when the great willie mays came to play for the mets in the early 70's